Physician Assistant

Master of Science (M.S.) Physician Assistant

Westbrook College of Health Professions

Physician Assistant Program

Please call: 1-800-477-4UNE or 207-221-4225 for further information. Applications are available online from Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) www.caspaonline.org

Mission

The mission of the University of New England Physician Assistant Program is to prepare master's level primary care Physician Assistants to be highly skilled members of interprofessional healthcare teams. The program is committed to developing clinicians who will provide compassionate, competent and evidence-based patient-centered healthcare to people of all backgrounds and cultures throughout their lifespan. The Program places special emphasis on training clinicians who are knowledgeable about the healthcare needs of our aging population and have the skills and passion to provide healthcare to people in underserved rural and urban communities. 

Graduate Professional Competencies

The mission of the Program is accomplished by having graduates who meet the goals of the educational process.  Graduates of the Physician Assistant Program will:

  • Understand the basic sciences of anatomy, physiology and Pathophysiology and be able to utilize this knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
  • Understand the principles of pharmacotherapeutics and to apply them in the treatment of patients.
  • Elicit a detailed, accurate history and perform a thorough physical examination.
  • Understand how to order and interpret appropriate diagnostic tests in a cost efficient manner.
  • Present patient data and document it appropriately in the medical record.
  • Provide quality acute and ongoing patient care by appropriately delineating patient problems and by formulating and implementing patient management plans, including referrals to other healthcare providers and agencies.
  • Perform or assist in the performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and manage or assist in the management of medical and surgical conditions, particularly in life threatening situations.
  • Understand the principles of public health and incorporate health promotion and disease prevention into a patient care practice.
  • Use information technology in the provision of quality healthcare and clinical decision-making.
  • Evaluate the medical literature critically and apply this knowledge and the principles of evidence-based medicine to clinical practice.
  • Provide compassionate and competent healthcare to patients of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Understand the medical and social issues that affect the geriatric patient and provide appropriate management of these problems.
  • Counsel patients, their families and their caregivers regarding issues of health, illness and medical care.
  • Understand the historical and contemporary role of the physician assistant in the healthcare system.
  • Participate effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.
  • Understand the principles of patient oriented healthcare and to communicate clearly with patients.
  • Identify the special dynamics of providing healthcare to rural or underserved populations.
  • Demonstrate appropriate professional behavior by following the American Academy of Physician Assistants' Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession.
Program Description

The Master of Science - Physician Assistant Program (MSPA) has been planned to effectively utilize faculty expertise from the University's five colleges. Some faculty hold joint appointments with responsibility for teaching medical and physician assistant students as well as other health profession matriculants. Similarly, physician assistant candidates will receive clinical supervision as part of an integrated team of health providers. It is our expectation that these collaborative strategies toward teaching and learning will ultimately result in high quality, cost-effective health care delivery, particularly in medically under- served regions of New England.

Upon successful completion of the Physician Assistant Program, the University of New England awards the master of science degree. The program operates on a twenty-four month full-time calendar, beginning in late May of each year with a new incoming class.

What is a PA?

Physician Assistants (PAs) are health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Physician Assistants are qualified by graduation from an accredited physician assistant educational program and/or certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Within the physician/PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision-making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services under the general supervision of the physician.

Other

The University of New England's Master of Science - Physician Assistant Program was designed according to the Essentials and Guidelines for an Accredited Educational Program for the Physician Assistant. The University of New England Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Curricular Requirements

Note: The curricular requirements below apply to the class entering JUNE 2017 (Class of 2019). 

Phase I of the program of study consists of 56 credit hours in pre-clinical didactic course work. The summer, fall and spring terms include instruction in the fields of biomedical sciences, clinical medicine, public health, pharmacology, clinical assessment, anatomy, physiology, evidence based medicine, ethics and professionalism, specialty disciplines, surgery, geriatrics and emergency medicine.

Twelve months of clinical rotations will take place upon successful completion of the didactic phase. The program ends with a final week on campus, which provides a forum for the presentation of students' research projects to peers and faculty; offers assistance in preparing the graduating students for certification; and gives physician assistant candidates an opportunity to integrate the didactic and clinical portions of their training in preparation for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam.

Course/Program Area Credits
Summer I
June - August (10 weeks)
 
PAC 550 - Anatomy 4
PAC 503 - Clinical Assessment I 2.5
PAC 558 - Pharmacology I 2
PAC 548 - Principles of Biological Science 3
PAC 509 - Clinical Medicine I 1
PAC 582 - Professional and Ethical Issues for Physician Assistants 1
Semester total  13.5
   
Fall
September - December (15 weeks)
 
PAC 553 - Clinical Assessment II 2
PAC 567 - Pharmacology II 3
PAC 519 - Clinical Medicine II 8
PAC 564 - Interprofessional Geriatric Education Practicum I 2
PAC 565 - Integrating Seminar I 3
PAC 526 - Evidence Based Medicine I 2
Semester Total 20
   
Spring
January - May (20 weeks)
 
PAC 551 - Introduction to Public Health 1
PAC 556 - Evidence Based Medicine II .5
PAC 566 - Specialty Disciplines 6
PAC 585 - Integrating Seminar II 3
PAC 533 - Clinical Assessment III 3
PAC 587 - Pharmacology III 3
PAC 589 - Clinical Medicine III 4
PAC 584 - Interprofessional Geriatric Education Practicum II 2
Semester Total 22.5
   
Spring II - Summer II
June - June (12 months)
 
Clinical Rotations  
PAC 600 - Internal Medicine  Inpatient (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 601 - Internal Medicine Outpatient (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 602 - Emergency Medicine (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 603 - Surgery (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 607 - Family Medicine I (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 608 - Family Medicine II (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 612 - Primary Care Selective 6
PAC Elective 6
PAC 620 - Preparation for Clinical Practice 3
PAC 630 - Evidence Based Medicine III 1
Semester Total 52

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all program requirements prior to the issuance of their Master of Science degree and the certificate of completion of the program. 

Academic and Technical Standards

WCHP Academic Policies

The Department of Physician Assistant, the Westbrook College of Health Professions, and the University of New England are committed to offering a quality Physician Assistant education program that complies with the evaluative criteria of the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. The program provides learning experiences to enable graduates to achieve the outcomes required for the practice of Physician Assistant.  Please refer to the WCHP Graduate Program Progression Policies and Procedures for detailed description of academic standards.

Technical Standards

All students must be able to meet the following University of New England Physician Assistant Program technical standards to successfully complete the Physician Assistant Program.  A candidate for the Physician Assistant Program must have abilities and skills in five categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, and behavioral/social. Reasonable accommodation for persons with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis, but a candidate must be able to perform in an independent manner. The following skills are required, with or without accommodation:

Observation:  Candidates must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe in the lecture hall, the laboratory, the outpatient setting, and the patient's bedside. Sensory skills adequate to perform a physical examination are required. Functional vision, hearing and tactile sensation must be adequate to observe a patient's condition and to elicit information through procedures regularly required in a physical examination, such as inspection, auscultation and palpation.

Communication:  Candidates must be able to communicate effectively in both academic and health care settings. Candidates must show evidence of effective written and verbal communication skills.

Motor:  The ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures (e.g. palpation, auscultation) is required. Candidates must have sufficient motor function to execute movements required to provide care to patients. Candidates must be able to negotiate patient care environments and must be able to move between settings, such as clinic, classroom building, and hospital.

Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is required. Long periods of sitting, standing, or moving are required in classroom laboratory, and clinical experiences.

Intellectual:  Candidates must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize. Problem- solving, one of the critical skills demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures. Candidates must be able to read and understand medical literature. In order to complete the Physician Assistant Program degree, candidates must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in medical problem-solving and patient care.

Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and other members of the health care team is essential. Flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills and the ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice are all required.

For more information on disabilities and accommodation, please contact the UNE Student Access Center at (207) 602-2815.

Grading

Upon completion of a course of study, the faculty member in charge of that course submits the number of hours taught and a grade for each student to the academic coordinator. The MSPA program uses a standard letter grading system.

Academic Policy

Course Add/Drop or Withdrawal Policy

Due to the standard curriculum sequence within the MSPA Program, students are not allowed to add or drop courses. Students may not withdraw from an individual  MSPA course; to do so indicates a complete withdrawal from the MSPA Program.

Repeat Course Policy

Courses in the MSPA Program are offered once per year. All courses within the program must be completed with a minimum final grade of at least 74%.  Students must successfully complete each course within a given semester to progress to the next semester. The Program Student Development Committee in association with the Program Director determines whether or not a course or part of it must be repeated. It may be necessary for the student to await the next time the course is offered in the MSPA Program schedule which may make it necessary for the student to apply for a leave of absence and if granted, return to the program when the course in next offered. 

Upon completion of a repeated course, a new listing and assigned grade are placed on the student's transcript. The original course listing and grade remain on the student's transcript. All courses are listed chronologically on the transcript by semester or academic period in which they are enrolled.

Please refer to the  Westbrook College of Health Professions Graduate Progression Policy and Procedures for further information regarding graduate program progression. 

Learning Outcomes

The mission of the Program is accomplished by having graduates who meet the goals of the educational process.  Graduates of the Physician Assistant Program will:

  • Understand the basic sciences of anatomy, physiology and Pathophysiology and be able to utilize this knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
  • Understand the principles of pharmacotherapeutics and to apply them in the treatment of patients.
  • Elicit a detailed, accurate history and perform a thorough physical examination.
  • Understand how to order and interpret appropriate diagnostic tests in a cost efficient manner.
  • Present patient data and document it appropriately in the medical record.
  • Provide quality acute and ongoing patient care by appropriately delineating patient problems and by formulating and implementing patient management plans, including referrals to other healthcare providers and agencies.
  • Perform or assist in the performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and manage or assist in the management of medical and surgical conditions, particularly in life threatening situations.
  • Understand the principles of public health and incorporate health promotion and disease prevention into a patient care practice.
  • Use information technology in the provision of quality healthcare and clinical decision-making.
  • Evaluate the medical literature critically and apply this knowledge and the principles of evidence-based medicine to clinical practice.
  • Provide compassionate and competent healthcare to patients of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Understand the medical and social issues that affect the geriatric patient and provide appropriate management of these problems.
  • Counsel patients, their families and their caregivers regarding issues of health, illness and medical care.
  • Understand the historical and contemporary role of the physician assistant in the healthcare system.
  • Participate effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.
  • Understand the principles of patient oriented healthcare and to communicate clearly with patients.
  • Identify the special dynamics of providing healthcare to rural or underserved populations.
  • Demonstrate appropriate professional behavior by following the American Academy of Physician Assistants' Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession.
Transfer Credit

Transfer Credit

Transfer credits are rarely awarded to students who transfer from another physician assistant program. Transfer credits will be reviewed and awarded on a case-by-case basis.

Advanced standing

There is no advanced standing available.

Experiential Learning

No credit will be awarded to students for experiential learning.

Admissions

PREREQUISITE COURSES

COURSES*

SPECIFICS

SEMESTER HRS

Quarter hrs

Biology

Labs

8

           12

General Chemistry

Labs

8

           12

Human Anatomy & Physiology**

Labs

8

           12

Psychology/Sociology or related behavioral science

 

6

            8

Statistics   3    4 

English

(A maximum of 3 AP credits may be applied toward the English prerequisite only.)

 

6

            8

 

Courses in Advanced Physiology, Pathophysiology, Microbiology, Physics, and Biochemistry are highly recommended.

*Prerequisites may be in-progress or planned at the time of application, but must be completed by December 31st of the application year. Please include any in-progress or planned coursework in your CASPA application. (Transcripts for coursework and/or degrees completed in the Fall term prior to the PA program start must be submitted to CASPA to be verified during the Fall Academic Update period. Transcripts for coursework and/or degrees completed in the Spring term must be submitted directly to UNE’s Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions as soon as they are available.)

** Anatomy & Physiology prerequisite must have been completed within seven (7) years of matriculation (taken 2011 or more recently). The courses must include all body systems and be a full-year (two semester sequence) or the equivalent. Combination of courses must consist of both 4 credits of anatomy with lab and 4 credits of physiology with lab OR 8 credits of A&P I & II (both with lab). Animal Physiology will not satisfy the physiology prerequisite.

ACADEMIC/EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS

 Applicants who meet the minimum requirements for application should understand that the average GPAs and number of hours of direct patient care for students accepted into the program are well above the minimum requirements.  Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an interview or acceptance.

  • At least 90 undergraduate credits from a US regionally accredited institution(s) at time of application, and a Bachelor's Degree prior to matriculation 
  • Successful completion of all prerequisite courses (listed above) with a grade of “C” or better (“C-“grades are not acceptable).
  • A minimum overall cumulative GPA of 3.0, as calculated by CASPA, is required. (The average for matriculated students has typically been approximately 3.5 for the past few years)
  • A minimum CASPA BCP GPA of 3.0 is required. BCP is the GPA calculated by CASPA for all biology, chemistry, and physics courses completed. (The average for matriculated students has typically been 3.5 for the past few years). Additional credit hours beyond the minimum pre-requisites, especially upper level coursework, in the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics areas, will enhance your application and make you a stronger candidate.
  • The GRE score report is no longer a requirement for application.
  • A minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care is required. (The average for matriculated students has typically been in the range of 2500 – 3500 hours over the past few years.)
  • PA shadowing required. “Shadowing” of PAs in more than one practice facility and practice area is very important for a clear understanding of the role of the PA on the medical team.  Applicants will be required to show evidence of PA shadowing hours in a primary care, inpatient or outpatient setting and must record in the “Health Care Shadowing Experience” section of CASPA. “Shadowing” does not count toward direct patient care hours.
  • Proficiency with computer technology is strongly recommended.

Note:     Before matriculation, accepted applicants will be expected to meet all health immunization requirements; to obtain a physical examination with proof of up-to-date immunization status.  Please visit Student Health Care for details.  Students must also have a current American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) course for the provider and must maintain current BLS throughout the program.

As required by clinical training sites, students will be subject to criminal background checks and drug screens prior to matriculation, and periodically throughout the PA program.

PROCEDURES AND POLICIES

  • Applications for admissions are accepted through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) only.
  • Applications must be submitted to CASPA by the posted deadline. Given the normally heavy volume of applications, we strongly encourage students to submit completed applications as early as possible in the cycle. The CASPA application portal opens annually in mid April.
  • On-campus interviews are granted to qualified applicants by invitation only and are required for admission to the program.
  • Admissions are rolling and decisions are made after each interview session and continue until the program starts.
  • International applicants and applicants with international degrees must have their transcripts evaluated for degree and grade equivalency to that of a regionally accredited institution in the US. See International Admissions for a list of educational credential evaluators.
  • All applicants to UNE must be able to understand and communicate (in writing and orally) in English to be admitted to the university. UNE accepts several methods of English Proficiency, see International Admissions. If an applicant cannot prove English Proficiency in another way, scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are required and must be submitted as a part of the completed application.

For additional information on the admissions process and requirements, please access the PA website.

Policy exceptions

The Physician Assistant program and the PA Admissions Committee in collaboration with the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions reserve the right to make exceptions to the admissions criteria and to make changes or exceptions to policies and procedures, on a case by case basis, when it deems such a decision is necessary and appropriate.

Financial Information

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for subsequent years may vary. Other expenses include books and housing. For more information regarding tuition and fees, please consult the Financial Information section of this catalog.

Lab Fees

A fee is charged to cover the expenses for specific science courses (e.g., anatomy), certain specific course or program component (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), evaluative testing, including the use of high-fidelity simulators, etc.) and an equipment fee for personal medical equipment.

Clinical Fee

The Clinical Fee is dispersed to clinical sites during the student's clinical year. It is an honorarium paid to the clinical site in appreciation for clinical training. While dispersed to clinical sites during the clinical year, to better equalize charges and award financial aid, a portion of the fee is billed to students during both the didactic and clinical year.

Tuition and fees are refunded per UNE policy. The refund policy can be found in the University Catalog section on Financial Information for Graduate Programs.

Equipment

Students are required to have certain personal medical equipment. This equipment is group purchased (at a significant discount) for each entering Class and the equipment is delivered to students during the first week of the program.  Please do not purchase personal medical equipment from sources other than the Program's group purchase.

Books

Students in the didactic phase can plan on spending approximately $1,500 to $2,000 on required textbooks. Course syllabi and the program book list may also include recommended books which students are not required to purchase, but may wish to have as important reference materials.  Most of the texts used in the Program are available digitally via the UNE Library's Portal and can be accessed without additional expense.

Other Expenses

Students are responsible for expenses involved with travel, parking, living expenses and meals.

Student Employment

The program discourages students from having outside employment while attending the PA Program. If a student feels that it is necessary to work while in the program, it is advisable that the student inform his/her academic advisor.

Financial Aid

Detailed information and applications are available on request from the Financial Aid Office on the Biddeford Campus. Call 207-602-2342 or visit the Financial Aid website.

Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog

This Catalog documents the academic programs, policies, and activities of the University of New England for the 2017-2018 academic year. The information contained herein is accurate as of date of publication April 28, 2017.

The University of New England reserves the right in its sole judgment to make changes of any nature in its programs, calendar, or academic schedule whenever it is deemed necessary or desirable, including changes in course content, the rescheduling of classes with or without extending the academic term, canceling of scheduled classes or other academic activities, in any such case giving such notice thereof as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

While each student may work closely with an academic advisor, he or she must retain individual responsibility for meeting requirements in this catalog and for being aware of any changes in provisions or requirements.

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